I am not sure this is correct, or that I am speaking on behalf of all the investors in the country….but generally based on some random feedback:

1. Most clients expect the IFA to be polite: If the client has been cheated / looted by the Bank, keep quiet about it. Especially if it is the early part of your relationship do not talk about it NEGATIVELY. The client considers it terrible that you found out. He would rather change you.

2. Clients want very personal and specialized solutions: Make sure that even if you have a solution for a client, do not give it in the first meeting. Take at least 4-5 hours to come up with a solution. Sometimes the client himself knows what he wants, in such cases, you can give it (assuming it is appropriate). If things go wrong, the client feels you did not spend enough time before you gave a ‘solution’.

3. Most clients want a holistic solution and there is  a good chance that he/she will ask you many things connected in their life. Very tough call, and you need to play it by the ear.

4. Even assuming that a client can pick which funds in which to invest, he may still need financial planning – remember as a planner you are far beyond fund / stock picking. Perform those functions well (for a fee of course) and chances are that one day he may come to you for fund picking too.

5. Clients are really looking for only 2 things – understanding of the investment environment, integrity, and ability to understand client goals and translating that into schemes / plans / action.

6. The real growth area should be Retirement Planning, but currently it is funding Children’s Education. So concentrate on both these areas.

7.  Adding Real Estate – buying/ selling renting is a brilliant diversification to your regular business. This way you need not worry about the customer liking equity or RE. In fact you can give him a 5 year SIP and say we will use this money to make a down payment for a house. So if you are a RE agent, DSA and an IFA, makes your business less risky.

8. My feeling is people are more comfortable dealing with a small sole proprietorship kinda model in financial planning. However when it comes to investing, 90% of the clients have no clue what they want – making the Investment market a bank market and not an IFA market.

9. How a client expects an IFA to communicate is difficult to say but personal meetings still hold sway. Wassup, phone, FB, email, chat, all have their role, but one or 2 meetings a year seems to be a must.

10. Use social media very carefully. Do not hurt your clients because of your religious or political views. Social media is useful for sure, but it can cut viciously. Beware.

11. Respect gender differences, and remember many divorces too happen. So respect customer requirements about how much their spouses should know about their investing. This is not easy especially with the spouse seeking to separate wanting more details – all this looks innocent till the bomb is dropped. Do not get caught in the cross fire.

12. Most wealth gets created at a later age – so as your AUM increases, so will the average age of your investor. Look for clients 10 years older than you, many belonging to your age group, and upto 25 years younger to you. They may start small but will grow to fill up your AUM as your older clients keep falling of. Call this the asset allocation of your clientele !!

Go forth and multiply !!


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